Winter Issue 2017
Van Wyck Gazette
Fishkill • Beacon • Wappingers Falls • Poughkeepsie • Newburgh • New Paltz • Rhinebeck • Woodstock
Van Wyck Gazette
FROM THE PUBLISHER
I asked our group of contributors to write content that would make every page sparkle. Ben Stiebel opens our Winter Holiday Issue with his piece on the Millbrook Vineyards and Winery, then shares both their history and extensive list of regional wines. Joseph Caplan links DESIGN / MEDIA the ecology of sustainable organic products to the innovative EcoTruck line of toys crafted by the entrepreneurs of Lukeâ€™s Toy Factory in Margot Stiegeler Danbury. Katie Maus hints at the best hot chocolate mixes available CONTRIBUTORS and where to buy a ready made cup of cocoa. And Adrea Gibbs plays Noel Chrisjohn Benson, Joseph Caplan, on a favorite poem in her verse Tis the Season of Shopping, or is it? Once again our Gift Guide features a fine selection of gift ideas Adrea Gibbs, Ann Jamieson, from creative entrepreneurs, both local and regional, such as Fruition Michael Jurkovic, Lori Ann King, Chocolate of Shokan and Cardoso Cookies of East Fishkill, New York. Katie Maus, Ben Stieble, Margot Stiegeler Plus a few gift ideas from our international friends at YikeBike of Christchurch, New Zealand and B&G Guitars of Tel Aviv, Israel. PUBLISHER Ann Jamieson opens the balance of the issue with her tour of Caplan Media Group, Inc. Fishkill, NY Jordan and elaborates on the links to a few of our favorite movies (hint: Indiana Jones). Noel Chrisjohn Benson notes the festive atmosphere SUBSCRIPTIONS at The Station Bar and Curio in Woodstock. Lori Ann King lists a few To receive Van Wyck Gazette by mail important tips about health in Its the Season For Less Stress and More visit our website and subscribe Happiness and introduces her brand new book Come Back Strong. www.vanwyckgazette.com Mike Jurkovic notes the very extensive list of poets who share wisdom in verse with a comprehensive review of Calling All Poets in The Happy ADVERTISE reCAPS 2017. If you would like to advertise with Van Wyck Gazette, A word of gratitude to everyone who lent their creativity to produce please email firstname.lastname@example.org our 2017 seasonal issues and cover art; Spring: Joseph Yeomans, Summer: Greg Correll, Autumn: Nancy Ostrovsky, Winter: Ward Lamb. Printed by Our loyal advertiser base makes Van Wyck Gazette possible. As Trumbull Printing, Trumbull, Connecticut does the total encouragement from business entrepreneurs of the fine stores, art/entertainment venues, places of local interest and charitable events where our publication is available. Upcoming issues in 2018 feature our interviews with those entrepreneurs who shape the Hudson Valley. Plus our highly anticipated Best of Van Wyck Gazette Volume II with cover art by Jose Acosta. Millbrook Vineyards & Winery It has taken a few years to capture our appreciative readership. Ben Stiebel And truth be told, Van Wyck Gazette has grown to provide copies from Beacon to Rhinebeck and Newburgh to Woodstock. Lukeâ€™s Toy Factory So what is the value of our publication? The answer is simply that Joseph Caplan our group of writers live to pursue their dreams and share them. And everyone in our Gift Guide loves to share the book, poetry, Hot Chocolate products or hand crafted toys made from their imaginations and Katie Maus entrepreneurial drive.
EDITOR IN CHIEF / CREATIVE DIRECTOR Joseph Caplan
Table of Contents
3 6 8
10 Tis the Season for Shopping ...or is it?
Noel Chrisjohn Benson
Lori Ann King
12 Holiday Gift Guide 14 Jordan 18 Station Bar & Curio 20 Tis the Season for Less Stress 22 The Happy ReCAPS 2017 Page 2
On the cover: Red House in Winter by Ward Lamb Artist Ward Lamb has long been actively exhibiting his work throughout the Hudson Valley and in New York City where he also has residences. His works are in public and private collections in the United States and International collections. His original art can currently be seen in rotating shows at Roosts Studios in New Paltz New York. Ward is proud to have done portrait work for actress-singer Cher, among many other patrons. Explore his works at wardlamb.com. AWF - ANB - APK - AKN - VIS - BLS - NAT - TCC - AWL - SHW - SHM - MSF - MGR - MHF - MHH - QU
Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery New York’s winemakers were nervous all summer. Grapes need hot, dry weather to reach full maturity. Without adequate heat and sunlight, sugar levels remain too low for the juice to ferment into wine and the flavors tend toward green and vegetal rather than lush and fruity. The cool, wet summer of 2017 offered nothing promising. But none of that tension was in evidence when I visited Millbrook Winery on a cool day at the end of October. Every once in a while, a wine region will experience what is known as a “miracle vintage.” The weather suddenly turns hot and dry at the end of a cool summer and the grapes develop to full ripeness. The unseasonably warm October of 2017 gave New York’s winemakers what they needed for a miracle vintage. Millbrook Vineyards sits on a scenic collection of hills at the eastern end of the Hudson Valley. Scott Koster, their Director of Sales, explained their story. The owner and founder, John Dyson, graduated from Cornell and served as Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of New York and later as New York’s Commissioner of Commerce. This was back in the 1970s when the bulk of the
Autumn Winery (Photos courtesy of Millbrook Winery) wine production in the state was dedicated to inexpensive sweet wine, sometimes known as “church wine.” Dyson was a wine lover and he deeply wished that New York’s agriculture could provide something more pleasing to the palate. In his role in the state government, Dyson was able to promote regulations that were favorable to local wineries and came up with marketing campaigns to promote New York products. In 1979, Dyson bought an old dairy in Millbrook and began experimenting with various kinds of grapes to see what would grow well in the Hudson Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon did not do well. The climate in New York was just too cold for a varietal that has seen its greatest successes in the southwest of France and in California. One of Cabernet Sauvignon’s parent grapes is the lesser-known Cabernet Franc, which is still widely cultivated in parts of France. Dyson succeeded with Cab Franc and also with Riesling, a German grape varietal known for making sweet wines of quality. Experimentation continued at Millbrook. Dyson patented his own system of trellises train the grapevines to receive optimal sunlight. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot all succeeded to one degree or another. On a trip to Italy, Dyson discovered a wine called Tocai in the Friuli region. That region is subject to cool, wet weather not unlike New York. Cuttings were taken and sent back to be adapted and one of Millbrook’s signature wines, Tocai Friulano, was born.
Millbrook’s Tocai Friulano is a light, refreshing white wine. Floral aromas rise from the grass and on the palate, the wine is light and refreshing. It is a good sipping wine that does not need to be paired with food. It sells at the winery for $20 per bottle. Grapes are available from the Finger Lakes and also from Long Island, so Millbrook does not have to grow all of the grapes they use. Nevertheless, their production is impressive. Some plots sit in better soil and get more sunlight than others. Those are designated as single vineyard plantings and they make Millbrook’s top tier wines. For example, the Lollipop Hill Vineyard produces the grapes for Tocai Friulano Lollipop Hill. Millbrook also makes what are called estate or proprietor’s bottlings. Those wines are made from grapes sourced only from the winery. The French term “terroir” translates as something like, “Taste of the place.” By making wines in tiers like this, Millbrook is able to capture the terroirs of their estate and of their best vineyard sites. The natural layout of the hills provides the winery with constant airflow through the fields. This helps prevent frost, mildew, and rot: three of the principal enemies of grape cultivation. Ponds are strategically placed throughout. Some of the best wine regions in the world are located close to large bodies of water. This is called a maritime climate and it helps mitigate extreme temperatures. How effective the ponds are at regulating the temperature is unclear. The winery hosts tours and events on a regular basis and the ponds add to the beauty of the landscape, so they serve a purpose either way. Difficult and sometimes troublesome as the planting, growing, and harvesting can be, the work is far from over once the grapes are harvested. After the grapes are brought in, the process of winemaking begins. Millbrook uses old dairy vats for the fermentation process. These vats are equipped with features that allow the winemaker to control the temperature at which the wine ferments. This ability creates a more stable fermentation. I had the chance to taste a bit of Riesling juice that had just started fermenting. Most of the sugar had not converted to alcohol yet, so it was like drinking cloudy grape juice. Despite the raw quality of the juice, the citrus flavors of Riesling were unmistakable.
Not all of the Riesling goes to fermentation immediately. Among the great dessert wines of the world is Eiswein. That is wine made from grapes that were left on the vine until after the first autumn frost. This means that the grapes are as ripe as they can possibly be and that the frost extracts much of the water from the grapes, leaving behind only a pure, sweet nectar. This process is risky as it leaves the grapes exposed to the elements and to the local fauna for an extended period of time. The freezing reduces the already diminished yield, so the final production is much less than one would get from standard harvesting. For that reason, Eiswein can cost hundreds of dollars a bottle. Millbrook Late Harvest Riesling
When the fermentation is done, the yeast will have converted most of the sugar to alcohol and the result will be Millbrook Dry Riesling. I was able to taste the Proprietor’s version, the one sourced only from the winery. Honey and citrus were prominent on the nose. Those citrus notes delivered on the palate along with fairly high acidity that would make the wine good with food. The usual recommended pairing is Indian or Thai, as the flavors of Riesling are quite complimentary to those dishes. Like the Tocai, that wine retails at the winery for $20 per bottle. Page 4
Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
is produced by storing the grapes in a produce freezer, mimicking the effect of the frost. This Riesling has similar qualities to the dry Riesling but is much sweeter and has a thick, mouth coating quality that stays with you. When it is available, it is a fraction of the cost of traditional Eisweins. Chardonnay is a perennial favorite among drinkers of dry white wine. Millbrook offers an unoaked Chardonnay that gives a very crisp, clean expression of the varietal. For those more familiar with California style wines, their entry level Chardonnay is made by aging the wine in a used French oak barrel. Oak aging changes the taste of a wine, making it thicker and heavier. French oak is less aggressive than American oak and a barrel that has been previously used will be even less aggressive. The final result is a wine with a little added weight and body that still retains its original character. The price for both Chardonnays is $18 per bottle. A proprietor’s Chardonnay is also available. This wine is made from grapes sourced entirely from Millbrook’s holdings around the winery. The wine is full bodied and rich, one might even say opulent. Everything about the wine is noticeably more that the regular Chardonnay, including the oak treatment. The overall experience is just a really bold, full Chardonnay. The Proprietor’s Special Reserve Chardonnay is available at the winery for $25. Reds are also available. Pinot Noir is a notoriously thin-skinned grape that is difficult to grow in its native Burgundy and not always cooperative even there. Nonetheless, the New York growers have experienced some success. Millbrook Pinot Noir presents the sour cherry notes that the varietal is known for along with some notes of fruit preserves. The wine is full bodied but elegant.
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Millbrook sells it for $22.50 a bottle. Despite the success of Pinot Noir, it has not come the forefront of New York reds. That honor goes to Cabernet Franc, one of Dyson’s early successes. Depending on how ripe the grapes get before harvest, Cab Franc can present notes of bell pepper, raspberry, or both. To mellow out the harsher aspects of this wine, it is a common practice to blend a little bit of Merlot in and Millbrook does just that. Millbrook Cabernet Franc presents a spicy nose that leads into a plush, full wine that would pair well with red meat dishes. That sells for $22.50 a bottle. Millbrook also makes a proprietor’s Cab Franc. That one uses less Merlot, something like four percent of the total blend. The wine is earthy, rich, smooth, and finishes with spicy notes that showcase the varietal’s rustic qualities in the best way. It would be a great pairing with lamb. Millbrook Proprietor’s Special Reserve Cabernet Franc sells for $35 per bottle. Though the emphasis is on their New York wines, Millbrook also has properties and partnerships in California and Tuscany, so wines from those places are available at the winery as well. They also have a gift shop that sells glassware and other wine related items. For those looking for more of an experience than a memento, the winery offers tastings and classes. To many people, “New York fine wine” is almost a contradiction in terms. Thanks to the efforts of people like Dyson and his crew, the region has started to carve out a place in the fiercely competitive world of wine. I still love the more established wine regions but it is good to see the local guys turning in a worthy effort. Wine is experiential. The taste is determined in part by the setting, the food pairing, and the company. I can honestly say that my trip to Millbrook was a great experience.
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Lukeâ€™s Toy Factory Joseph Caplan Imagine that you could design and build the perfect toys for young children. Would the toys be playable, provide hours of fun, have learning value, appeal to both girls and boys alike and have a safe, quality build? They ought to. It might be best to start with a concept. Most children enjoy a toy truck, whether a fire engine, cargo, tipper or dump truck. What if you could design one frame with wheels and a variety of colorful, interchangeable parts such as a cab or cargo deck to build any of four truck models. James Barber and Luke Barber hand build a line of EcoTruck products in their toy factory aptly titled Lukeâ€™s Toy Factory in Danbury, Connecticut. These unique toy trucks share the same injection molded composite frame of about 5 3/8 x 2 inches, with a groove along the perimeter. Their concept is the theme of such a novel design and provides the basis for their puzzle building educational toys. Children find the available parts easily align and fit into the groove, and allows their imagination to build any truck in the multitude of available colors. As play events held at the local public library have shown, both girls and boys share a keen interest in the toys and creativity always prevails. Back in 2012 former commercial photographer James Barber launched his concept to repurpose end of life materials such as rice hulls into a viable component with which to build useful and durable toys. Rather than discard such waste products into the local landfill, James reasoned, the science must exist to reintegrate these natural and safe by-products into raw materials. A visit to the National Plastics Exposition proved him right. Apparently a mixture of sawdust and nontoxic plastic provides the right composite formula to extrude parts that are both thicker and more Page 6
robust than plastic alone. Not to mention the lower cost and abundant availability of flax shive, walnut shells, paper and coconut shells. So while the first four models of trucks are molded from furniture factory sawdust and plastic, upcoming models are molded from a mixture of renewable biomass such as rice hulls. This lends a smooth texture and natural coloring to the components of the toys and projects their EcoTruck branding. It also explains their philosophy to design and build safe, durable products with educational value. Luke Barber develops the prototype of each and every toy with modeling CAD (computer-aided design) software and a very clever imagination. While it might seem simple to draw a round pod or cylinder for a tanker truck, often the simplicity is lost on those who build the actual toy truck. It was found that young children placed the halves of the cylinder end over end on the frame, rather than end to end. Luke designed the most elegant solution to solve the problem. From a conceptual point of view, the procedure to produce a new model from their imagination to the package at the local toy store in quite complex and involved. Every toy component design must first have a prototype built. So a three-dimensional design file is sent to their printer which layers a thin filament into the sought after form. The prototype is tested for usability. Does the part fit as intended and more importantly, do children use that piece to build their toy? Is the truck easy to assemble? If not, a redesign is justified and a follow up prototype is fabricated. The prototype is next shown to the injection molder to gauge whether the design parameters are reproducible in a finely machined steel mold. Close tolerances might be hard to shape, and could clog the injection mold itself. Luke builds elegant simplicity into every design for practicality sake, production schedule feasibility and consistency of quality. The typical injection mold is employed to produce millions of parts, and whether shaped by EDM cathode methodology or just hardened carbide steel bits, the time required to deliver the mold is about three months. Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
Under the heat of a screw drive that pushes tiny pellets of sawdust and plastic into the injection mold, those raw ingredients melt to become a frame or cab of the next toy truck. Rather than paint the parts, color pellets enrich the molded parts with a hue of green or red, yellow or blue. Future products might use renewable organic yet previously disposable by-products such as flax shive or walnut shells which lend muted shades of James Barber, Managing Partner warm brown or tan to the toys. I could easily imagine a Whole Foods logo on the cabs. Next the piece must not fail the choke tube tests. About the throat size of a child, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) designed tube is used to judge whether any component of a toy presents a choke hazard. The tube measures 1.25 inches in diameter and from 1 to 2 inches in length. So every tire on every toy truck must be larger than the minimum choke tube diameter. Other safety hurdles involve a drop test, sharp edge test, finger entrapment test and material safety test where components are burned to emit gases then subjected to analysis by spectroscopy. Such lab tests discover unwanted ingredients, if any, such as lead. The final safety tests involve the energy on impact test and noise or decibel level test, if applicable. Quite a procedure. Lastly, the parts suppliers ship the components to Luke’s Toy Factory for assembly. Right now each and every axle is heat fused to their matching wheels by hand. Whether a tipper, dump, cargo or fire truck, the component parts are packaged into their vibrant cartons. Even their package is produced from recycled paper and plastic. So kudos to Mitch Achiron for both their package design and logo. Evan Achiron provides their social media presence and public relations. In terms of their future, James Barber shares their ambition to develop four channels of sales; the educational market, cobranding, business to business and, of course, the small retailer market. Luke’s Toy Factory hopes to present their innovative EcoTruck products to Kaplan, Inc., the education company. That assuredly is very prescient and highlights their educational package four
pack which contains one of each model toy truck, the total collection in one place. While available in about 200 stores coast to coast, the small retailer market is most robust in both New York and California. Of course, any of their toy truck products are available online via their website. Their vision with the most insight is the co-branding with Waste Management. To that end Mr. Barber presented a green dump truck with the Luke Barber, Toy Designer embossed WM logo on a truck cab. A behemoth company now wants to promote programs to recycle formerly discarded trash or end of life wastes. How best to communicate their initiative to manufacturers, or educate young students about the importance of protocols to recycle or enhance the viability of farms with sustainability of reusable organic products? Simply display your company logo on a toy truck produced with sawdust. Or better yet, with flax shive or coconut shells. It made perfect sense. From the basic concept to develop a line of toys which present a “solve the puzzle” approach for young children, to the design of future products that foster a sense of sustainability, if only one company at a time, the Barber family epitomizes the dream. The entrepreneurial drive to grow their business with educational toys designed and built in their Connecticut workshop. Luke’s Toy Factory earned the 2017 Best New Product Award from New England Made – Giftware and Specialty Food Shows. A prototype tractor-trailer design on their workbench captured the interest of this writer. Not to mention a stake bed truck with detachable sides. Plus renewable or future sustainable organic products might find their way into upcoming production models. Who could say? Luke’s Toy Factory produces a range a toys to engage the imagination of any child. Future plans include their expansion in four markets with active participation in trade show exhibitions along with regional toy fairs. Their positive reception by children who eagerly assemble their toy trucks points to a bright and maybe even lucrative future in the highly competitive toy truck market. So creativity and innovation are alive in a small workshop in Danbury where toys are hand crafted one at a time. Imagine that. www.lukestoyfactory.com
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atmosphere, definitely worth a visit. Babbette’s in Millbrook is an adorable little cafe in an adorable little town. A great place worth a visit, and perfect for a warm drink, while antiquing in town. Twisted Soul by Vassar College is another place to try their hot cocoa. I’ve never been there myself, but I’ve heard great things about their Mexican hot chocolate. According to an article in Hudson Valley Magazine (8 Spots for Hot Cocoa by Barbara Ballinger), the drink is “made with La Abuelita Mexican chocolate - which is often used in Hispanic mole sauces - and steamed milk and has a hot-cinnamon kick. Some say it’s like eating Red Hots candies.” It’s definitely on my list to visit this winter. Hot cocoa is also great to make when you have company over for the holidays or after the kids come in from playing in the snow. You can also make hot chocolate gift baskets to give as Secret Santa gifts or for your children’s teachers.
a Hudson Valley Winter Staple Lots of people drink coffee or tea on a daily basis. It wakes them up, relaxes them, or they simply like the taste of it. Tea and coffee, to me, are regular drinks, while hot chocolate has always been a special occasion drink. Hot cocoa is reserved for the winter months, something to drink on Christmas Eve or after sledding at Tymor Park. It’s a dessert, and a way to warm up, all in one. What is more sublime than a comfy chair by a snowy window, with a fluffy blanket, a good book and a steaming hot cup of cocoa? It’s the perfect time for some hot chocolate, and the wintry Hudson Valley is the perfect place for it. Here are some ideas for where to drink, where to buy, and how to make some good hot chocolate.
Places to buy mix: Fruition in Shokan makes some of the best chocolate in the world (they won at the International Chocolate Awards again this year). They have cans of “sipping chocolate” for sale at their stores in Shokan and Woodstock. I first tried it at their open house last year and it was hands down the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted. Verdigris Tea and Chocolate Bar in Hudson is the cutest shop with the greatest variety in teas and chocolates. From gummy candies to locally made chocolate bars (noted some Fruition chocolate and Oliver Kita bars for sale!), they’ve got it all. There’s a whole wall of teas! You can get a cup of cocoa or tea while you’re there or you can get a tin to take home. I took a tin home and it was not only adorable but their hot cocoa was delicious! Definitely worth a visit! Supermarkets. What? I thought this was about fancy places to go get some hot chocolate! Sometimes, as I was reminded by a friend when asking for recommendations, “isn’t the best cup of hot chocolate the one you make yourself?” He wasn’t wrong. Countless people I spoke to said they swore by a good old cup of Swiss Miss. I’ve personally had good hot chocolate from heating up some milk and adding Hershey’s Syrup to it. A favorite of mine is also Land O’ Lakes flavored hot chocolate. The cocoa on its own has a great flavor, but sometimes adding to it is even better! They make a hazelnut flavor that is to die for! There’s also raspberry and mint, which I’ve never tried. A friend of mine loves the mint mixed with some vodka. Not so great for the kids, but adults love a good cup of cocoa too! What else can you add to your cup of Swiss Miss or your chocolate melted into warm milk? Cinnamon: I didn’t think I’d like this at first, but it’s so warm and comforting! Emma Swan was onto something with this one! Candy Canes: Mom always told us to stir our cocoa with them and it always made it taste better! Marshmallows: I like the mini ones personally, but throw some regular sized ones or even the jumbo ones in there! Caramel: Throw some salt in there too to make it a saltedcaramel cocoa! For the grown-ups, adding Vodka or some Bailey’s will make sure your cocoa warms you all the way up. Whether you make it yourself or go out and buy it, hot chocolate keeps you warm and smiling in the winter in the Hudson Valley.
Local Cafes: Cafe Le Perche in Hudson has a great cinnamon flavored drink; perfect for a cold day checking out the cute shops on Hudson’s Warren Street. Patisserie Lenox is also located in Hudson and offers a more bitter, dark cocoa along with some delicious pastries and a relaxing atmosphere. Samuel’s in Rhinebeck is a sweet shop I’m sure we’ve all heard of; it’s the one owned by Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Much smaller than I expected, the walls were packed with a variety of sweets, and I grabbed a cup of cocoa just because Cheers! I was chilly. It was a tasty cup of milk chocolate, and a fun Page 8
Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
‘Tis the Season of Shopping...or is it?
I decided this holiday would be filled with more heart Than anything requiring a battery to start Favorite cookies and music, memories from the past A personalized offering, a gift that would last.
‘Tis the season of shopping and all through the valley Everybody was eager, preparing to rally For the bargains were tempting from here and from there Seemed the sale signs were screaming from everywhere.
Tokens to remind them of times that were good Of friends and of family for they always would Make for shining bright days and evenings of fun Of games and of movies, of meals, though long done.
When what to my wandering mind did emerge A thought so fantastic to the fore it did surge Macy’s and Sears, anything ending with -Mart I suddenly felt so incredibly smart.
Still harken the reasons we suddenly smile When considering those who make each day so worthwhile A envelope or box filled with nudges and hints That when opened is filled with more than glitter and glitz.
Push back Target, Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond JC Penny’s and Best Buy, then like “poof” with a wand, My head soon got clearer, I felt light as air Realizing I didn’t have a holiday care.
No recipient can imagine the overflow of joy Far better than even this season’s top-selling toy Recollections surpassing both reason and rhyme And that is quite simply, the present of time.
The season would not be “I wants,” or “I needs,” Rather something far different that truly supersedes Gift certificates and cards, packages tied with bows For none I would need as this game plan arose.
In unwrapping those memories built from CDs and candy Card games and trivia and all such things dandy They will know from the contents that spill this yuletide What each means in my life from the love tucked inside.
On debit, on credit, check, bitcoin or cash No need for the bank or that last minute dash To the ATM or market making sure I was flush Or heading into the fray of that last-minute rush.
So consider this season doing something quite novel In giving your loved ones more than some shiny bobble And with that last thought I wish you much delight Happy holidays to all, and to all, a good night.
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Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
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Jordan Ann Jamieson A camel crossing sign looms ahead through the bus window. Bedouins herd their goats. Yes, she has some tough neighbors. Syria sits to her north; Iraq is to her east. While it discourages a lot of people from visiting Jordan, it shouldn’t. The Jordanians are some of the nicest, most giving, generous people you’ll ever meet. Literally they cannot do enough for you. And they are proud to introduce you to the natural and man-made marvels of their country, and their astounding heritage. Few small countries can boast of so much to see. On Mt. Nebo one can stand where Moses once stood, looking out over the Promised Land. Christian tradition holds that Moses is buried on this mountain. While walking here it’s hard not to wonder if you are quite literally stepping in the footprint of Moses. While Jordan is composed mainly of desert, it’s not the picture of a desert that I’ve always carried in my head. Endless, rolling sand dunes with perhaps some scrub vegetation was what I expected. Instead, the sand of the Wadi (meaning valley) Rum desert does not stretch endlessly across the horizon, but is constantly interrupted by massive, and intriguingly structured, rock formations. Wadi Rum is the former haunt of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), an author, diplomat, archaeologist and military advisor renowned for his role as a liaison in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire in World War I. One of the most prominent rock formations in Wadi Rum is named after Lawrence’s book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. We took jeeps through the valley, and as we ventured deeper into the Wadi Rum, I wouldn’t have been too surprised to see Lawrence come galloping out from behind a sandstone cliff. Stopping for tea with some Bedouins, we enjoyed the shade of their tent, some delicious cinnamon tea, and time playing with their new kittens. Outside of Amman, we stayed at a hotel on The Dead Sea, Page 14
Petra Commoners Tombs at 1400 feet below sea level the lowest point on earth. If you feel particularly energetic and happy there, there is a reason beyond the beauty of the region. The oxygen at this point is extremely rich, quite the opposite of what you would experience on a mountaintop. Famous for its healing properties, the Dead Sea is ten times saltier than any other sea, and rich in minerals including magnesium and potassium. The sun, salt, and minerals help relieve psoriasis, arthritis and asthma. But it’s not just for people seeking relief from vexing physical conditions. Soaking in the buoyant, mineral rich waters is relaxing, and once you’re in it you don’t want to get out. Well, actually, you can’t get out. The buoyancy is so strong that it is literally difficult to get your legs back underneath you! Between the relaxing soak and the exhilarating rich air, the Dead Sea beats any spa for making you feel like a whole new you. Jordan is famous for her mosaics, the components of which are drawn from the rocks covering much of her landscape. This rock face can contain such a variety of colors and shades, from turquoises to pinks and reds to green…and beyond, that those who create the stunning mosaics have no need to dye the rock pieces they use. Any color they want is naturally at their disposal. Traditional Middle Eastern fare is at its best in Jordan. “Mezze,” the traditional small plate meals, will knock your socks out for the flavor and variety of the dishes. Hummus of course seems to be part of every meal. Falafel, fried chickpea flour with Middle Eastern spices can be munches with veggies, dipped in moutabel (roasted, pureed eggplant with garlic). A huge pile of red-ripe watermelon slices is the perfect finish to the meal. Just don’t eat in your hotel. We went to Jordan on a tour, and stayed in a chain. The food was notoriously institutional so we grabbed a meal while out whenever possible. Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
View of the Dead Sea
Of course, the most well-known attraction in Jordan is Petra, and it’s all you have ever imagined, and more. The city, carved into sandstone cliffs by the ancient Nabateans, astounds visitors for its beauty, ingenuity, and sheer audacity. Forget building a city. They carved one! Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, Petra (meaning “rock” in Greek) dates back at least 2000 years. While it lay hidden from the outside world for centuries, it was rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss named Johann Burckhardt. Petra now draws seven million visitors annually. The Nabatean empire spanned parts of Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, which explains the variety of styles reflected in the architecture of the carvings. Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Indian and Assyrian influences can all be found. Called the richest race on earth by the Roman writer Pliny, the Nabateans traded in frankincense, myrrh and other incense and spices. During that period, incense was used in most religious ceremonies, and in burial rites. Trading in frankincense and myrrh was the equivalent of holding the Apple patent today, and Petra was right at the heart of the “incense road,” intersecting all the main trade routes leading to Egypt, China, Greece, Rome, and beyond. From this vantage point the Nabateans amassed fortunes. As many Christmas carols tell us, frankincense and myrrh were given by the Three Wise Men to the baby Jesus. Not only were they valuable for religious purposes, but they had curative benefits as well, so they weren’t such an odd baby gift after all. The city was named Petra, the “Rose City,” because of the color of its sandstone walls. Sandstone is a soft, compressed stone composed of sand and minerals. Although
it is considered “easily” carved, it is still unimaginable to think of the hundreds of workers and the amount of time it must have taken to carve an entire city. Master hydraulic engineers, the Nabateans figured out how to provide water for a desert area that receives an average of only six inches of water a year and housed 20,000 to 30,000 people. Every nearby spring was tapped and channeled across mountains and through gorges, into cisterns. Channels were carved into the sides of canyons at just the right degree of descent so that water neither stopped flowing nor flooded the valley. Dams were constructed to protect the inhabitants from frequent flash floods. The system showed such sophistication that scientists are hard pressed to replicate their feats today. And this, mind you, was back before Jesus walked the earth. The Treasury Standing nearly 120 feet high (twice the height of Mt. Rushmore), this icon of Petra will sear itself forever in your mind and your soul. Reaching The Treasury requires a mile-long hike down a twisting canyon, the Siq (meaning “the passage”). With walls ranging as high as 600 feet, water channels and carvings and remnants of statues in its sides, the Siq is fascinating in itself. But any Indiana Jones fan knows it is what’s at the end that matters most. Our guide, Ahmed, made sure that our first glimpse of The Treasury will never be forgotten. He planned our trip down perfectly, including what time we went to Petra so as to get the best view of The Treasury. As we neared the end of the Siq, he had us all stop, and then instructed us to close our eyes and put our hands on the shoulders of the person before us. We inched forward until he guided us to a stop. Only then could we open our eyes. Pow! A sliver of the massive edifice, framed between the walls of the Siq, dazzled us in the bright morning light. A sublime surge of emotion swept over us as we feasted our eyes on one of the world’s most wondrous sites. This was it, The Treasury that we’ve heard about, Page 15
read about, and seen in photos, and of course, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. While photos and movies were fascinating and provided some idea of what was to come, reality was breathtaking, one of those moments in travel, or in life, that will forever be etched in your consciousness. And it all looked most likely as it would have 2000 years ago, when traders from around the globe saw it hundreds of years before Christ. Bedouins, camels, Arabian horses, and donkeys milled around the center square. Merchants displayed their keffiyeh (the headdress worn by men), their tea, their frankincense and myrrh. What to Know When You Go Bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. When we were in May it was an unseasonably hot 116 degrees. Yes it is a dry heat, and it is different. In the shade it’s not too bad. But in the sun it feels as though you are being baked. Wear walking shoes. It’s quite a hike down the canyon to get to the city, explore it, and then walk back where it’s uphill all the way. But there are always horse carts, donkeys or camels to transport you back if you’re just too tired. The Jordanians are incredibly hospitable, kind people, and will do everything they can to insure you have the best possible time exploring Petra. Still, there are always people at any tourist attraction who will try to fleece you. A good guide will let you know who is selling the real deal and who to stay away from. Have a great time. Petra is one of the wonders of the world, and seeing it in person is a joy that you will never forget. (Photos by Ann Jamieson) First glimpse of Petra’s Treasury upon exiting the Siq
Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
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The Station Bar and Curio Noel Chrisjohn Benson Back in the little town of Brown’s Station in the early 1900’s, one could imagine what life was like for the toll collectors. Waiting for people in stylish clothes from out of town to come up and experience the Catskills, swim in the creeks, float down the Esopus and hike the landscapes. I wonder what the toll collector would of thought, had someone told him this building would be moved over 10 miles to Woodstock in the future? And this area would be under water? Pretty crazy right? Only to become a neat little spot for people to get a drink and enjoy some cool music acts? Well, the Station Bar and Curio happened to become exactly that. After all the supplies were unloaded off the very railroad that would doom the town, the Ashokan Reservoir began construction and the entire town was flooded. All the buildings were either moved, abandoned or dismantled, and the little building made by the Ulster and Delaware Railroad Company, was first moved to a location in Ashokan. It was moved again by Victor Basil, a Woodstock resident, who’s intention was to open a new bar in town, but he couldn’t due to permit problems. It was occupied by a few businesses, but eventually became a noticeable, neat, hang out spot for people, but wasn’t exactly a public property. “Lily and I met when we worked for Scharff Weisberg Lighting in the city for awhile, which led into us freelancing” said Ben Rollins, co-owner of the Station Bar. “We eventually got bored of our jobs, and the more and more we thought about it, we really wanted to do something different. We would see this building sitting here when visiting family in the area, and we would always focus on it. Eventually, we realized what we wanted.” Lily added “We didn’t want to work in the city anymore and our lives made a complete turn. This was where we wanted to raise our son, it just made sense. We wanted a place in the community for people to hang out, and it seems like that’s exactly what’s been happening”. Located at 101 Tinker St, across from the library, the Station Bar and Curio opened its doors in 2016 and is a gem that keeps the old spirit of Woodstock alive. While it’s mainly a bar, Chef Kyle Waltz fixes what they call “bar bites” which can be anything from pressed panini sandwiches, to hearty soups and salads. A big part of the community is having places for local and traveling Page 18
musicians to play without a big hassle, especially in a warm, intimate atmosphere. At the outdoor and indoor areas of the Station Bar and Curio you can find musical acts almost any day of the week. Since it’s opening in 2016 the bar has had several artists perform in the pavilion, and a DJ that spins vinyl once a week. “When we got the property, we stared for awhile. And just the whole vibe from it, just seemed to emit some energy that was fine with us, and didn’t need to be changed” said Ben and Lily. “We changed a little in the rooms, but not much, we wanted to keep as much of it as original as we could.” Inside the Station Bar people have a pool table, a juke box, and original artwork for sale from local artists. Even their tower tap is fashioned from an antique radiator. It’s ironic, since few of the adults in the area remember drinking in the once abandoned setting as teenagers, only to sit back and enjoy their drinks now in a place that is good for any generation. And to see musical acts from local and nonlocal musicians alike (and it’s all legal, too). I had a chance to check out “The Flash Band” and got a word with the local performer, affectionately known simply as “Flash”, after his group twanged and thunked a funky version of “Ain’t no Sunshine” out in the pavilion. “I like this place and it’s atmosphere. I’ve played here before, its nice to see people of all ages show up and listen to us play”. The stage area is adorned with a neat photo backdrop that makes you feel like a crowd is already in attendance. An old photo, donated by Allan Seigel, graces the back of the outdoor seating area. An original piece, that was handcrafted decades ago before Photoshop or inkjet was even close to being invented, shows a black and white image of the “Bathing Suit Exhibition” from Galveston, Texas. It almost gives the seating area a sense of a “ready crowd” that gleams back to the audience in the seating area. It is one of the many antiques that lends the building an old school charm. Serving handcrafted beer from local breweries, as well as a selection base of local spirits, the Station Bar and Curio is open from Monday thru Thursday from 4pm - 2am, and Friday thru Sunday 12pm - 2 am They are about a five minute walk from the Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
village green, and there is extra parking in back, near the Comeau property which leads to a neat little covered footbridge which leads to the bar. When I was 16, I ended up moving to this town, never knowing where I belonged. Not knowing what I was to become, not knowing if I was spending too much time on the guitar, not knowing if I was wasting my life away. Or if I’d found the secret to living, just being, and treasuring every moment. Woodstock was like a fantasy world for me at the time. There were dozens of people I knew around town. We all had our neat little projects going on and often we would stop in at certain places just to hang out for a second. When the Tinker St. Cafe closed, it really upset me. The legendary cafe brought such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Richie Havens and countless others, many of whom would give a moment’s notice before gracing the stage to avoid crowding. I used to feel like I was sharing people’s magic. Every day and night I was watching how excited some visitors were, knowing they were sitting near Bob Dylan’s old apartment, drinking beer and listening to a live musician that could be at any level of talent at any time. It makes me happy to see such a place as the Station open. It gives me a little of that same feeling I used to get to see someone in this town, alone with a guitar on a mini stage in the spotlight. They could be playing to a hundred people, or could be playing for less than a dozen. But they were playing for themselves, and for whatever reason, being in the atmosphere of this creative haven Peter Koch, bar guest called Woodstock, it would
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Lily Rollins often bring the best out of traveling musicians when they alone were on the stage. Its too bad Victor Basil didn’t live to see his bar come to life. But his kids, John and Marina Basil, have had the experience of seeing it for themselves. When Ben and Lily Rollins said they wanted a place that had the “vibe of town” they got it right. It takes on a life of its own, when the guests start coming in at noon, until later on at night. People out, moon’s out, stars out, bar is inside. It adds another “hop” to town. I find myself jumping from one spot to another in the area. And at some point in the night I always arrive at the Station, where it has very common to find musicians without instruments. How can you tell? Believe me, you just know. Mr. Basil is most definitely shining down at what he started with love.
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Tis the Season for Less Stress and More Happiness Lori Ann King The holidays are a time for family, celebration, joy, and giving. They can also be a time of loneliness, financial strain, sadness, and an endless list of activity. While the holiday season can seem overwhelming at times, there are things we can do to reduce stress and experience more happiness. In my new book Come BALANCED WELLNESS AFTER SURGICAL Back Strong, I tell my perMENOPAUSE sonal story of being thrust suddenly into menopause after having a hysterectomy and oophorectomy. With my uterus and ovaries gone, my hormonal balance shifted dramatically overnight, it felt like every single area of my life needed my attention. As I put each area of my life under a microscope, I dove into a world of self-discovery and awareness. I worked to balance my physical systems. I also began seeking solutions to regain my emotional balance, such as incorporating joy and peace into everything I do. Enjoy the following excerpts from Come Back Strong. The tools listed below can be used by anyone seeking to reduce
stress to live a more balanced life in wellness. Wishing you a holiday season filled with peace, joy, and happiness. Stress Reduction Chronic stress that goes untreated can affect body, mind and emotions. Mine also made my menopausal symptoms worse. To find balance and avoid burnout, I had to find ways to reduce stress. Our health is affected by the decisions we make daily. Stress is often not a result of one factor, but the cumulative effect of many factors. It helps me to look at what I can control now. In this moment, I may not be able to leave a stressful job, but I can decide not to eat the cookie someone has offered me or reach for caffeine to get me through my day. I’ve also learned to say no more often, especially to things that don’t align with my healthy goals, purpose, passion, and priorities. Some weeks I still cross off the morning and evening hours on my calendar and schedule those as sacred “me” time. I do my best to create good habits with food and exercise, and I now build in time to rest and recover, practice yoga and meditate. These are all part of my system of self-care that helps to reduce stress, alleviate symptoms, and bring me back into balance. As a woman I tend to put others first, to my own detriment. This leaves me compromising on my needs, especially when it comes to relaxation and self-care. After surgery and during surgical menopause it was important to make myself a priority. I learned what I required to relax, and I asked my family to adjust. Yoga Yoga is a major support in stress reduction for me. It helps me to calm my body, which in turn, quiets my mind. In the past few years,
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I have explored many different forms of yoga and I’m still learning. When I take care of myself and practice yoga even once or twice a week, I’m more connected to my body and spirit with a sense of calmness. My friend Theresa, who is a yoga instructor and owner of Anahata Yoga and Healing Arts in Kingston, New York, says: “Yoga’s unique effect on the mind-body connection is one of the reasons it is routinely used to help overcome stress, depression, and other unpleasant emotional states. Even the simple act of stepping into our practice, and of committing to ourselves, sends self-love messages to the brain—and self-love is sometimes the most powerful medicine we can give ourselves.” Self-Love Self-love was a powerful component of my healing. Most religions and spiritual traditions teach a version of the principles “love thy neighbor as thyself.” It’s the premise of showing the same kindness to others that we want to be shown to us. The problem is, we don’t love ourselves enough, which adds to our stress levels. During surgical menopause, we hate our symptoms and our bodies. But the last thing any of us needs is hate, especially when it comes to ourselves. Think of a child who falls and skins her knee. Her caregiver jumps in with gentle kindness and kisses the boo-boo to make it better. What if our symptoms are our bodies’ ways of saying, “Hey? Love me. Hug me. Nurture me. Think good things about me. Get more rest. Stop feeding me that.” Are we listening? Self-love includes taking care of our bodies and health, showing respect for ourselves and our well-being, taking responsibility for our happiness. Self-love is accepting and embracing all the past, present and future. Meditation Meditation was a tool that helped me create balance and reduce stress. The more my symptoms spun out of control, the more I required the silence that meditation brings. Meditation is a form of quiet listening and turning within. When my life gets hectic or symptoms get intense, I have a real choice: I can listen to the noise, focus on the symptoms, and pay attention to the minutia, or I can tune into the still small voice within me and listen for its guidance. I can learn to calm the chaos in my body and mind, which results in more peace and harmony in my life. My meditation practice began with a daily fifteen-minute “sit.” At first, the only goal was to keep my body still for the entire time. I’d often start out all bundled up, snuggled under a blanket. Halfway through, a hot flash would hit. I had two options. • •
Kick the blanket off, end my sit prematurely and proceed to freak out. Sit still and observe, allow the hot flash to come and go and be unimpressed by it. I don’t always get it right, but it has become an invaluable tool, nonetheless.
Meditation can also be practiced through making art or music, writing, coloring, and even gardening. When you think about how you plan to meditate, permit yourself to add any activity you do on your own where you go into the “zone” to the list. Meditation can be done seated, walking, or dancing. Look for places where you flow naturally and effortlessly in life. For information about Lori or her new book, Come Back Strong, visit www.LoriAnnKing.com/ComeBackStrong Page 21
The Happy ReCAPS 2017 Mike Jurkovic (Author’s note: The idea of the happy recap is borrowed from Bob Murphy (1924-2004), the revered and beloved radio and TV announcer for the NY Mets from 1962-2003. Murphy always assured you that, win, lose, or draw, there was always another game tomorrow.) 2017 was a year of long visualized, creative realizations for our Calling All Poets Series. And I’d like to take a few moments recounting them and hopefully give you all an idea what the future holds for the Hudson Valley’s longest running poetry performance series. In August, after being rent chased from Beacon after nearly sixteen years, we celebrated the start of our second full year at Roost Studios and Art Gallery in New Paltz. But oddly, and perhaps in an ironic twist only the creative muses could perpetrate, it was Beacon, at Quinn’s Resturant, that welcomed us back to CAPS hometown with two (February and July) SRO, trailblazing performances of Jazzoetry, a vibrant and visceral fusion of jazz, poetry, and rhythm and blues. Special thanks to all at Quinn’s, especially Che Pizaro, Tom Schmitz, George Spafford, and James Keepnews. Featuring six of the Valley’s truly gifted and incomparable jazz players, the Jazzoetry Quartet - bassist Robert Kopec, piano/ keyboardists Joe Tranchina and Neil Alexander, sax and reeds man Eric Person and soundscapist Dean Sharp and drummer T. Xiques - laid down the groove, the swing, the funk and the ska behind Dutchess County Poet Laureate Poet Gold, Suffolk County Poet Laureate George Wallace, CAPS stalwarts Jim Eve, Glenn Werner, Penny Brodie, (host of WVKR’s Mingus Moments and widow to the Valley’s own jazz legend and mentor Hugh Brodie) Terence Chiesa; special guests Rev. Evelyn Clarke, Esther Taylor Evans; American Songbook stylist and Executive Director of the Maverick Chamber Concerts Kitt Potter (Kitt’s been instrumental and an invaluable source of energy for much of CAPS recent activity) and many diverse open mic’ers. Then, on October 31st, with the full exuberance of Tony Falco at The Falcon in Marlboro, CAPS presented JazzQuerade, a Halloween-themed revue that had Kopec, Tranchina, and T. Xiques returning as a trio to support Kitt singing “I Put A Spell On You” and “Witchcraft” among others, Poet Gold, Westchester’s own musical gift and creative arts mogul Steve Worthy, Lady Esther Gin, actor/storyteller Steve Jones, and a reunion of the poetry, politics ’n pathos mid-90’s duo New Page 22
RoostCAPS Ekphrasis Project - (Photo: Jeffrey Goldman) Nervous Voice (actually Steve Worthy and your humble narrator.) Watch the CAPS website - www.callingallpoets.net - for future Jazzoetry dates. Speaking of the CAPS website, Greg Correll, a brilliant writer, artist, and web designer who graciously and egolessly oversees and maintains the site, was recently awarded a CUNY fellowship and is studying under many of most respected editors in publishing. While I’m at it, let’s shout-out to the many CAPS members and supporters who have had books published this last year, including Irene O’Garden, Hudson Valley’s grand saint of poetry, Don Lev, Catherine Arra, Dr. Lucia Cherciu, Matthew J. Spireng, Rebecca Schmejda, and me. And let’s not forget Cheryl A. Rice and Ken Holland who placed first and second respectively in the Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Awards and Raphael Kosek for winning the Bacopa Literary Review’s nonfiction prize for her “Caregiver’s Journal: How to Survive or Not.” And while we’re recapping CAPS triumphant return to Beacon, June began CAPS run on the Towne Crier Cafe’s Main Street Stage for a monthly program entitled #wordsmusicdialogue, a strikingly new twist on the traditional poetry reading/open mic format. Featuring two writers and one singer/songwriter (the past six programs have highlighted such names as Emmy and Golden Globe nominee and novelist John Leonard Pielmeier, memoirist Dara Lurie, award winning poets Mary Makofske, Roger Aplon, and Nepalese poet Yuyutsu Sharma; Beacon Poet Laureate Tony Pena, and singer/songwriters RoseAnne Fino, Kurt Henry, Marc Von Em, Judith Tulloch, Jim Coyle, and Slambovia’s own Joziah Longo) Each artist performs for thirty minutes then discusses their art and craft with an audience always ready with questions. Special thanks to Phil Ciganer, Vickie Rabin, and Robert Phillips for making this unique performance/salon a success. Early in 2017 Calling All Poets Series was approached by Michael Sussman, the Valley’s long crusading civil rights attorney, to help advocate for creative expression and establish an open forum in Ellenville, one of the growing number of Hudson Valley towns suffering under the weight of America’s harsh and crushing economic injustice. For several months, Empowering Ellenville was home to a CAPS open mic every second Friday. Unfortunately, the program closed in August, but that has not stopped Calling All Poets from reaching out to our neighbors in Orange and Van W yck Gazette - Winter 2017/18 Issue
Sullivan Counties. We want to hear from you. Your voice matters as much, if not more so, then any so called Presidential tweet. Let’s make it happen. Back to New Paltz at Roost Studios and poetry marathons featuring several professors and their students from SUNY New Paltz. Props to Creative Writing Director Pauline Uchmanowicz, Lecturer Larry Carr, and Professor Jan Schmidt for their continued support. In May, globally admired poet and retired Vassar professor Eamon Grennan, inaugurated The CAPS Masters Series with a brilliant and compelling evening of poetry and discussion. ARToetry, The Ekphrasis Exhibit - debuted in September. A visual/poetic collaboration between CAPS and Roost Studios, spotlighting ten members from each ascendant organization working together to create a fuller discussion of the creative process and exchange of ideas. Marcia Cole, David Wilkes, Louisa Finn, Mary Newell, Tom Delooza, were just some of the participants. The Ekphrasis Exhibit has long been an idea that our VP, Glenn Werner had envisioned, and we would like to thank Roost Director Marcy Bernstein for being open to and genuinely excited by the idea and seeing it through. ARToetry - The Ekphrasis Exhibit book will be available by early 2018 through CAPS Press. While we’re all concerned about the cruel and crude de-evolution of America’s heart and soul, when your family and community reaches from Brooklyn to Albany, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, there is bound to be, despite the many successes shared and mentioned previously, some glitch, some disappointments. 2017 had a couple of those for CAPS, but we look forward to 2018 to unify our voices to create the unity our country needs now more than ever. After all, if we can’t talk to each other, how do we speak to, and for, the greater whole?
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